Should I study English abroad?
Are you thinking about studying English abroad? It can be a fantastic experience, and a great opportunity to improve your English skills.
There are countless destinations, and thousands of schools, that receive groups of students throughout the year. So how should you choose? Where should you go? What is it important to consider?
Let’s have a quick look.
The World is a good place to learn English. After all, if you decide to spend 2 months backpacking through South-East Asia, you will undoubtedly speak English every day. Not only as a means of communication with local people, but also with every conversation you have with your fellow travellers. Even more so, if you stay away from people who speak your mother tongue.
If you simply wish to engage in English conversation, the world is your oyster. However, if you wish to have a more organized experience, focussed on quickly improving your English ability, then perhaps an overseas short course is for you.
Do your homework.
I can’t recommend any particular course to do, because there are too many. You can compare courses on the language international website, or on the language course.net website, as well as many others, however, I would advise you to take your time to pick what is good for you. One of the great things about living in the 21st century is reviews! If you are going to spend a lot of money on an English course, be sure you can see trustworthy accounts of students who have been there.
Where should I study?
It is possible to study English in almost every country in the world.
Of course, the most popular locations are Anglophone countries like the UK, the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. This can be fantastic, as you should have a truly immersive learning experience. There are countless reputable institutions teaching English in all of these countries, and you have the added benefit of being surrounded by English wherever you go outside of class.
However great studying in one of these countries can be, it isn’t the only choice. Generally, taking courses in these places is expensive, and living costs upon arrival are high.
Less Considered Options
Over the last few years I have heard good stories from students and teachers about learning English in Eastern Europe. This includes Poland, Serbia, Macedonia, Czechia, Croatia, Greece, Bulgaria, and other countries in the area. This will generally be by an immersion style programme where students are given accommodation on-site. Perhaps the outside world will be conducted in another foreign language, however, you will undoubtedly speak English all day with the other students from other places around the world.
Similarly, inexpensive English courses can be found in Asia, particularly Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia. Here’s one in India that offers intensive courses. Depending on the location, teachers will probably be locals. However, sometimes, as is often the case in Thailand, native English speakers are working in the schools.
Out of the places mentioned above, one difference between them is the probability that you will be able to engage in good English conversation with locals. For this, see my previous article, in which I praise the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia as being the places that you can speak to almost everyone in natural English.
What do you want?
The most important thing to consider before researching different language programmes around the world, is “what do you want?”. If improving your accent is the number one priority, then studying in an Anglophone country is probably the best. If you want a cheaper way to be speaking English all day, then perhaps look for an immersion course in Central or Eastern Europe. If you have time to combine your English improvement with relaxing on a beautiful beach, then travel further, and study in Asia.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning English, and there is certainly no right course to take. Spending time looking for the right course for you will take longer than choosing a pair of shoes, but, it is time well spent, as it will hopefully help you find a course that will be enjoyable, memorable and will improve your English.